Waiting on refunds


There’s good news for nine out of 10 people expecting a refund after filing taxes—you’ll likely receive it within the 21-day window the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) quotes. And if you’re the unlucky sap in a group of 10? Well, who knows when it will come.

The IRS is currently experiencing computer issues in the form of a hardware failure, and it’s affecting an untold number of tax processing systems.

“Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems,” the IRS said in a statement on Wednesday. “The IRS is currently in the process of making repairs and working to restore normal operations as soon as possible. We anticipate some of the systems will remain unavailable tomorrow [today].”

You can still prepare and file your tax return as usual, and even submit them to your e-file provider of choice. However, those companies will hold the tax returns until the IRS fixes things on its end. If you’ve already filed your tax return, there’s nothing more to do other than cross your fingers and hope you’re not among the unlucky 10 percent who will end up waiting longer than 21 days (whether or not that’s due to the glitch, the IRS didn’t say).

Don’t Go Phishing

In related news, the IRS issued a news release warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for fake emails or websites looking to steal your personal information. Otherwise known as phishing, the scheme continues to be on the annual IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams.

“Criminals are constantly looking for new ways to trick you out of your personal financial information so be extremely cautious about opening strange emails,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS won’t send you an email about a tax bill or refund out of the blue. We urge taxpayers not to click on any unexpected emails claiming to be from the IRS.”

One thing to keep in mind is that the IRS doesn’t typically doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal information or financial details. If you receive such a request, consider it a red flag.

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